Riding the Subway

I leave to catch the train about fifteen minutes earlier than usual. I didn’t have anything else to do to get ready and I needed to refill my Metro card. The train before my usual departure time arrives and I immediately regret it. All the cars were packed with people – double…triple the normal number. I wedge myself in, trying not to touch anyone, and grab the silver, vertical pole. The speakers announce our next destination, the doors close, and the train lurches forward.

A train full of eyes unseeing. No one makes eye contact. Bodies hunched over books and phones. Headphones dangling out of ears. All these bodies meshed together as one in the train, completely unknowing of the different souls and lives. It’s likely we’ll never see each other again. New York is a pretty big place.

A younger guy holds onto the same pole as I. He’s got some of those large, over the ear headphones on and he’s bobbing his head to the music. With the hand he’s using to hold onto the pole, he starts tapping his fingers to mimic the cord progression of his silent song. The other hand is down by his leg, strumming with an imaginary pick. I watch his hands for a while. The train shutters to a stop. A few people get off and are quickly replaced by more. I watch as a woman rushes to make the train before the doors close. She slips in and I notice sweat droplets collecting on her upper lip. Summer isn’t always kind.

Twenty minutes have passed and the train screeches. This is my stop. I shuffle around the people in the train to make it through the doors. The station smells of piss and cigarette smoke. Everyone squeezes through the exits and rush to work, making sure not to look at the homeless man sleeping in the corner or make eye contact with those around them.

New York is a lonely city.


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